Shri Shankaracharya Temple

An introduction to Sankaracharya Temple

Srinagar is a place known for its scenic beauty amidst the lush greenery of Himalayas. Jammu and Kashmir are the place for many temples marking one of the most important places for Hindu pilgrims. One such temple that is located on top of the Shankaracharya hill, which is a part of the Zabarwan Mountains. It is located at a height of 1100 above the City of Srinagar. It is also called by the name Jyesteshwara temple, and Buddhists called it Pas-Pahar. Precisely the temple is said to have been built by Raja Gopadatya in 371 B.C.

At that time, the temple was known by the name Gopadari after the name of the king, but then the name is changed after the great saint Shankaracharya, who is said to have visited the valley ten centuries ago.

Cultural and religious significance

The Shankaracharya temple Srinagar timings have led to significant importance as far as culture and religion is concerned. Thousands of pilgrims from all over the country consider this place to be sacred and thus, pay a visit while going to the Amarnath Yatra. Apart from the religious point of view, this temple is also culturally rich as it has great aspects flaunting the architectural intelligence of that time. Though the temple has gone under several repairs, but the central shrine, possess the shape of circular space and after going for many repairs, the ceiling of the main chamber has taken a modern approach.

Knowing the presiding deity

The Shankaracharya temple Jammu Kashmir is known for its presiding deity, which is Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva is said to be the patron Gods of the Hindus and thus have many temples dedicated to Him all over India. This temple also holds testimony to this fact.

About the Idol

It is quite a common fact and found in temples, all over India, that Lord Shiva is represented in its phallic form or Linga. The same is here in this temple. The interior part of the temple holds the sacred Linga of Lord Shiva which is oval in shape and is encircled by a snake. It is made of reddish black stone that is revived from the valley of river Narmada in Madhya Pradesh. It is told that the Shiv Linga is installed inside the temple when the Sikhs were ruling in the nineteenth century and then it came to be known as an active Hindu temple.

Other Shrines in the complex

There are no other shrines present in the temple complex and has only one presiding deity.

Nature of worship in the temple

Since the temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and it is represented in its phallic form, so it is worshipped in the usual way as every Shiva Linga is worshipped. A Kalash is placed on top of the Linga and a mixture of honey, water and milk is kept inside it. The Kalash has a hole, and the mixture drops from it to provide the linga with the Holy blend. Apart from this morning and evening aarti is carried out in this temple. The temple stays open for the devotees from 7 in the morning to 8 in the evening. But since it is located on top of the hill so, communication is only available till 5 in the evening.

Special occasions and festivals

Maha Shiv Ratri is celebrated in full form in this temple. And ceremonies like birth and death of Shri Shankaracharya is also celebrated here. And apart from this, the month of Shravan is also quite necessary for this temple as devotees from Amarnath Yatra also visits this temple as a part of the holy ritual.

Aspects of Pilgrimage

There is no doubt that this temple is quite popular amongst the Hindus. And moreover, devotees and pilgrims who are in the path to travel to Amarnath Yatra also pay a visit to this temple. And moreover, there are also pilgrims from all over the country and in the state who comes to get visit the shrine and get the blessings of Lord Shiva. Outside the temple, there are several small huts situated which gives place to stay to the Brahmins, who look after the temple and carry on the everyday ritual.

 

Guide to reach the temple

The Shankaracharya temple timings are open all year round but the best time to visit is between May to September when the weather is pleasant, and there is no snow. Hence, is visited by devotees from all across India by all the three modes including road, train and air. Due to its excellent transportation networks visitors do not feel any hassle to reach the destination and visits the holy shrine.

 

  • By Air: The pilgrims have the liberty to reach this temple with the help of railway lines. The nearest options of the lot are Chengannur and Kottayam railway lines. These are mostly while dealing with the broad gauge. On the other hand for the meter gauge.
  • By Rail: The nearest Rail head is 300 km away from the temple location in Jammu. Thus, visitors need to take help of other forms of transportation to cover the distance and reach the place.
  • By Road: The place is well connected by roads via NH1A that connects India with the beautiful Kashmir valley. You can hire taxi and buses from this highway and the roads give beautiful views on the way to the temple. It is approximately 10 to 12 hours journey via road.

 

Nearby places to visit

You can collect few Shankaracharya temple photos as a memoir of this location that you can take home. And besides this, there are several other places to visit in the area apart from the scenic beauty it represents. Below is the list of few places that is a must visit for every tourist.

  • Shalimar Bagh: It is the Mughal garden in front of the Dal Lake which was built by Jahangir.
  • Nishat Bagh: This garden is located on the side of river Dal Lake and was built by Asaf Khan, brother of Nur Jahan In 1633 AD. The garden depicts beautiful view with Zabarwan Mountains. This garden of bliss also gives a marvellous view of Pir Panjal Mountain, which stands snowcapped on the far west side of Kashmir valley.
  • Chashmashahi Garden: It is one of the other wonders made by the Mughals.
  • Pari Mahal: This is a hundred of year old garden overlooking the famous Dal Lake. It gives a breathtaking scene of the city.
  • Parihaspora: It is the ruins located outside the town of Srinagar, and you can visit it on the way to Gulmarg.
  • Nehru Garden: It is located before Chashmashahi Garden. It is a park well maintained by the Department of Floriculture and gives a parking place next to the park.

 

History and legends of the temple

Stories of the shankaracharya temple history go like this that, Sri Adi Shankaracharya visited this place to revive the Sanatan Dharma and thus, the name of the temple and the hill on whose backdrop the temple is located. Moreover, the temple can be reached by a flight of few steps and the sidewalk of the steps once bore some inscriptions to the Persian origin. It is one of the oldest temples in the valley of Kashmir and is one of the reasons for its popularity.

The temple is nationally Protected Monument, managed under the Archaeological Survey of India. The temple is also under the religious domain of the Dharmarth Trust and conducts the ceremonies in this shrine. Many improved and new structures of the temple are recently added after it was destroyed by an earthquake. The dome was constructed by Sheikh Ghulam Mohi-Din, the then Governor of the place in 1841-46. Its architectural importance is also one of the reasons why pilgrims and visitors all over the country are attracted to this area.

Most of the present structure of the temple dates back to 9th century AD. It rests on a solid rock and almost a 20-foot in height, the octagonal base is engaged in supporting a square building on top. The ceiling of the main sanctum where the Linga is placed is supported by four octagonal pillars or columns. The inner sanctum also portrays certain inscriptions that are dated back to the time when ShahJahan ruled the country. Thus, you can see many Persian inscriptions scatted all along the temple building.